Kirk and Menendez Lead 16 Senators to Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Threat

Kirk and Menendez Lead 16 Senators to Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Threat

Iran Has Yet to Dismantle Its Nuclear Infrastructure; Bill Would Impose Sanctions If No Deal By July 2015


WASHINGTON, DC -  U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) today introduced S. 269, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, legislation that would impose economic pressure on Iran if international negotiations do not yield a final nuclear deal by June 30th, and impose a Congressional review period of 30 continuous session days in the event of a final deal.

A total of 16 Senators will co-sponsor the Kirk-Menendez legislation, including: Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Additional co-sponsors will be added this week.

The negotiations with Iran, which involve the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany, were extended in November 2014 with a deadline of June 30, 2015.  

Summary of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015: 

  • Sanctions will be implemented only after the June 30th negotiations deadline, but only if the negotiations fail to produce a deal.
  • The Kirk-Menendez legislation increases the current congressional oversight of the negotiations and requires the Administration to formally submit any new nuclear agreement text or extension to Congress within five days.
  • Congress is allotted 30 days to review any nuclear agreement before the President can waive, defer or suspend sanctions.
  • Subject to a report and certification, the President can only waive sanctions if it is in the vital national security interest of the United States and/or a waiver would make a long-term comprehensive solution with Iran more likely. 
  • If there is no final agreement by July 6, 2015, Kirk-Menendez would re-impose sanctions that have been waived while the negotiations have been ongoing, which would begin in August and run through December. 
  • New sanctions would close loopholes in existing petroleum sanctions, enhance sanctions on Iran’s oil trade and financial transactions, and impose further sanctions on Iran’s senior government officials, family members and other individuals for weapons of mass destruction proliferation, terrorism sponsorship and other illicit activities, and on Iran’s shipbuilding, automotive, construction, engineering and mining sectors. 

You can see a copy of the legislative text here.

Background:

Congressional Veto-Proof Votes on Bipartisan Iran Sanctions

  • The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-195) passed the Senate in a 99-to-0 vote on June 24, 2010, and the House in a 408-to-8 vote on June 24, 2010.
  • During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81), the Menendez-Kirk amendment to impose Central Bank of Iran (CBI) sanctions passed the Senate in a 100-to-0 vote on December 1, 2011. 
  • The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-158) passed the House in a 421-to-6 vote on August 1, 2012, and the Senate in a voice vote on August 1, 2012.

During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239), the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, a Menendez-Kirk-Lieberman amendment to impose sanctions on Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding and port sectors, passed the Senate in a 94-to-0 vote on November 30, 2012.

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